In the second book of her series, Foster continues her examination of the famous slave uprising led by Nat Turner.
In 1831, a slave of Ethiopian lineage inspired a rag-tag band to embark on an attempt to shake off the rules of their cruel masters and fight oppression. When they were finished, 50 whites had died and Turner entered the history books. Foster obviously feels a close bond with Turner and his followers. The novel traces his journey side-by-side with that of famed abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Foster touches on Turner’s roots, invoking his Ethiopian mother and grandmother, and writes of both the early and late days of his enslavement. The heartbreaking descriptions of slave life are vivid: stumbling on frozen feet, starving slaves gathered in cold, unheated shacks to comfort one another and pool what little food they had. Foster examines the lies surrounding Turner’s capture, trial, imprisonment and hanging; the stories of his accusers; and the moral and emotional journey taken by Stowe. She brings historical characters to life with a deft and sure hand. Her technique of switching points of view and zooming back and forth in time won’t appeal to those who prefer a more linear approach to storytelling, but even they will appreciate Foster’s attention to detail and her ability to evoke raw, authentic emotion.
Foster uses her strong research skills and her skill at turning historical names into living, breathing humans to great advantage.